Who can Develop Eczema?
Though anyone could potentially develop eczema, people with skin allergies and a family history of eczema are the most prone to developing this condition.
Having skin allergies does not mean that you will develop eczema; studies have shown that individuals lacking the protein filaggrin can experience a weakened skin barrier that leaves them more prone to eczema.
Types of Eczema
There are several different types of eczema, though some are experienced more commonly than others.
Atopic (dermatitis) most commonly occurs in individuals with a family history of eczema or allergic reactions. With atopic eczema, people may experience flare-ups of their condition as a result of pollen or pet dander, or from contact with cleaning solutions or other irritants.
Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that occurs when an individual comes into contact with something that irritates their skin. There are two main categories for contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis occurs in the area where someone has touched an irritant, such as chemicals or cleaners. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs in an area where someone has touched something they are allergic to, such as someone with a grass allergy developing a reaction on the back of their legs after they sat in the grass.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis can occur anywhere on the body in adults and children. Though the exact cause of this type of eczema isn’t clear, it’s thought to be an “overreaction” that the body has to certain flora on the skin.
Discoid eczema is a type of eczema that occurs less commonly than those previously mentioned. The manifestations of discoid eczema on the skin are striking and typically look “coin shaped.” When someone experiences a breakout of discoid eczema, they will experience redness and itching in addition to oozing, crusting, and scaliness in the area.
Pompholyx eczema is a type of eczema that is confined to the hands and feet. Unlike other types of eczema, pompholyx eczema appears as itchy, red, and watery blisters. This type of eczema is often linked to stress, heat, and sweat.
Asteatotic eczema refers to a type of eczema that is most often found in individuals over the age of 60. This condition manifests as extremely dry and irritated skin that is pink or red with visible “cracks” in the skin. As we age, oil production in our skin begins to decrease, leaving us susceptible to dryness from our environment and activities, such as long baths that dry the skin.
What Causes Eczema or Rashes?
The cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but there are several triggers that are known to make eczema worse. For example, consuming certain foods or coming into contact with irritants can cause an eczema flareup or make the condition worse.
Other possible triggers for eczema include irritating soaps or detergents, wool clothing, jewelry, perfume, and event stress. Eczema, specifically atopic dermatitis, also commonly occurs in people who have asthma and seasonal allergies known as hay fever.
Treatment Options for Eczema
In most cases, eczema is treated with topic corticosteroids. Antihistamines can also be used to reduce the amount of itching and discomfort that an individual is experiencing, especially since itching at night can impact their sleep quality.
Since eczema points to a weakened skin barrier and people often scratch at their eczema with unclean fingernails, antibiotics may also be used when an infection is present.
Though there is no way to completely prevent or cure eczema, some patients may benefit from allergy testing to help identify food and environmental factors that can trigger their eczema.
Additionally, there are several gentle skincare methods that can protect your skin and help prevent eczema flares, such as:
- Taking short showers that are under 10 minutes long and only use lukewarm water.
- Using soap that is mild and fragrance-free.
- Pat drying after a shower, rather than wiping water away with a rough towel.
- Applying a mild and fragrance-free moisturizer to damp skin.
- Using hypoallergenic and mild detergents.
- Avoiding fabric softener.
- Discontinuing use of perfume and other body sprays.
- Avoiding irritating fabrics, like wool.
- Using a humidifier during dry or cold months.
Leave your skincare to the experts. Eczema is a common skin condition that should be treated by a professional to help prevent flareups and discomfort. If you would like to experience premier dermatological care to achieve beautiful and healthy skin, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Ip today.